It's getting harder and harder to watch SportsCenter these days. Watching them develop new ways to poke fun at my Philadelphia Eagles with cute headers like "Dream team becomes a nightmare" is bad enough. But then I've got to listen to reasons A, B, C and D for why there won't be an NBA season next year. One of my teams falling apart, I can deal with(and have...for a while), but an entire league?
I'll be honest. I'm a relatively new NBA fan. I started consciously watching games(a couple every week) two or three years ago, and have been quite thrilled with the return on my investment.
I've gotten to see the emergence of the Heat as that team you love to hate, the emergence of humble superstars like Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose, and the emergence of Blake "YouTube It" Griffin.
And now, as I'm finally becoming a diehard, it's all being taken away from me? I feel like I found out about an awesome TV show eight seasons late, and caught up online just in time to see it get canceled.
But will there be a season? Eh... Unlike the NFL lockout, this dispute isn't just about greed. The system is fundamentally screwed up and needs an overhaul. As optimistic as I try to be, I don't think that overhaul will come in the near future. What can we do in the meantime? Prepare for the worst and find a way to deal with that.
My coping mechanism? I've already started up a boyish-fantasy list of things that would keep me entertained through this cold NBA-less winter...
1. Lebron joins the NFL: The tweet to Jon Clayton was just the beginning. James decides European basketball isn't for him, and signs as a tight end with the Jacksonville Jaguars instead. King James travels back to Cleveland in Week 11, but only catches one ball for eight yards. On the other side, the Browns rack up an NFL record $2 million in fines for head-hunting.
2. EuroZone: NBA TV adopts the NFL Network's RedZone idea, and creates EuroZone; the place to watch all your NBA players abroad in action. You can see Kobe in Italy. Dwight & D Rose in China. Charles Barkley tries his best Scott Hanson impression, but fails miserably when he can't pronounce any foreign name correctly.
3. Soccer in America finally: ESPN buys Premier League and La Liga games to fill NBA time slots. Americans finally have a chance to watch soccer at times other than 7 a.m. on a Saturday. We all start to love the sport. Years later, top American athletes are deciding to play soccer over football or basketball. USA: 2026 World Cup Champions (It's my fantasy...deal with it.)
4. NBA does "The Replacements": With the union standing strong, and most players abroad, NBA executives attempt a makeshift season with whatever players they can round up. The result is an eight-team league, composed of Harlem Globetrotters, AND1 mixtape stars and Allen Iverson...It doesn't work.
5. College Hoops Hooplah: Most fans fill the NBA void with an extra helping of college basketball. Ratings skyrocket and players become even bigger celebrities within the sports realm. Finally, the NCAA just gives up and pays them.
Having said this, if there is no NBA season, none of these things will actually happen. That's not the point. The point is we all need to find a way to cope with the inevitable. Build a metaphorical bomb shelter for the impending sport Armageddon, if you will. I already feel a little better having written this.
Whether your substitutions be fantasy or reality, find a way to move on. Because day by day, things are looking bleaker. The meant-to-be 2012 NBA dream season is turning into a nightmare...(see what I did there?)